Dan Cairns (17 September)
Dan Cairns is the pop critic of The Sunday Times, where he has worked for more than 20 years, interviewing people such as Paul McCartney, Stephen Sondheim, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Taylor Swift. As a child, he was deputy head chorister and chief soloist in Winchester Cathedral Choir. He grew up in a musically highly enriching environment - the family home was always full of creative people, among them his godfather Colin Davis, the ENO director Edmund Tracey, Thomas Hemsley, Roger Norrington and John Williams.
He shares a musical bond with his father David that borders on telepathy. This was nowhere more evident than on the recordings Winchester Cathedral Choir made, which David produced and on which Dan sang. That bond was strengthened when Dan followed in his father’s footsteps as a music critic for The Sunday Times. The only occasions when the bond was threatened were when David played Peter Maxwell Davies LPs extremely loud on Saturday mornings, to the great distress of the other members of the family, and the cat, and the dog. There was also the time when, sitting next to David in the fifth row of the stalls at the Festival Hall, Dan managed to fall asleep during a performance of The Rite of Spring. In every other respect, the bond has remained unbreakable. For years, Dan and his father would call each other on Midsummer’s Day, and play the opening of Act II of Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage (from the 1971 Philips recording, on which David worked) down the phone. So, yes, it’s enduring, and cause for the deepest happiness imaginable.